Archive for the ‘Thinking’ Category


Today, while reading Tom Vanderbilt’s The Pleasure and Pain of Speed from Nautilus’ Issue 9, I learned about the saccade. This is the term for the rapid movement of eyes between fixation on different objects. Our visual perception is basically turned off during this time – which, apparently, makes up about 60 – 90 minutes of […]

Historical Footnotes

I posit that the event horizon of “historically important” as a quality of information is the point at which the dataset disappears from living memory. The magnitude of certain events ensures that they will be recorded for posterity, but even then, the reasons behind that recording fade as the people who experienced it die. I […]


This morning, my dog and I caught God trying to sneak through the city like a man skipping Mass in search of a drink. He still filled the sky and his steps were like the echoes of an empty hallway. My dog just wagged her tail but I shouted at him: I SEE YOU, OLD […]

On Aging

Aging is the process of learning to appreciate greyness. It is only a gentle irony that our hair takes on that hue. The things children appreciate and learn about are defined by clarity: a color, a taste, an emotion. As time passes and experiences pile up, red becomes oxblood, sweetness and emotions take shape by […]

Empathy is Not Always a Virtue

I’ve written a few times about the qualities of empathy and our society’s general need for more of it in the last year or so. However, empathy is not always a virtue. When you empathize with someone so much that you become emotionally incapable of meeting your own responsibilities (like, say, taking your final exams), […]

Thoughts on Privilege, Listening, Empathy, Discretion & Brokenness

I’m 33, and I think I’m finally starting to internalize what privilege means. I’ve always perceived its framing as a negative. “You have privilege, and that’s not fair.” To which my thought has always been: “Okay, so what am I supposed to do about it?” Denying it is foolish, and not using it (which is […]

Love and Fear

Sometimes when my son hugs me, I feel completely humbled and undeserving of the love he shares with me. My love for him pours out in an unstoppable and unending torrent; it is easy to love him because it is involuntary. My love for him is so consuming that I don’t have the spare neurons […]


A thought I had – one grown to support my own current whatever – regarding incompleteness: Persons are by their nature incomplete, and seeking completeness. In themselves, in their institutions. But at the moment one stops seeking, the moment one believes these goals of completeness are met, they are lost. Liberty, freedom, justice, love and […]

The Problem with Archetypes

Lately I’ve been reading all of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, and, looking past the deliciously pulpy swords & sorcery genre-ness of it all, many of the tales wrestle with the tensions between civilization and barbarism. Lately I’ve been thinking a bit regarding how media of all sorts (newspapers, television, online, video, video games, et […]

Quote from Helioscope

The agnostics contend that pain has evolved blindly as a means of causing us to avoid injury. There are two things that might be said about the theory: the first is that a few moments’ thought will produce half a dozen better ways of achieving the same objective (one of them is intelligence — but the […]

Postmodernism is Dead! Long Live Holism!

I’ve never liked postmodernism and I’ve been waiting quite some time for the next organic, era-bound, arbitrarily-assigned “-ism” to show up. I’ve finally noticed it, and I expect other folks have as well. I don’t know if it has a name yet, but I’ve arbitrarily assigned it with the handle Holism. First, Postmodernism Since, philosophically […]

Ignorance & Agnosticism

There isn’t a lot of difference between the root meanings of ignorant and agnostic; but there is a vast difference in their modern connotations. Ignorance is essentially the result of holding a point of view due to lack of facts or a reasonable thought process. For the most part, it is a passive situation. We […]

Varieties of Empathy

There has been a lot swirling around my head lately; some general themes include: foresight & hindsight, the evolution of the human capacity for change, aging, empathy, the very different implications & responsibilities inherent in dating as a father, and why my dog farts uncontrollably when my son plays with his toy helicopter (pronounced, and […]

For All Is Vanity

“I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all […]

Caveat Emptor

There are endless things we can and have learned from nature that have daily, practical application in our lives. Velcro was invented by a guy who took a close look at the burrs that stuck to his dog’s fur. It wasn’t given to us by Vulcans. I’m sure my mom has a special place in […]

Hui Neng – The Mind That Moves

Hui Neng was an illiterate peasant who had experienced a sudden awakening upon hearing the Lotus Sutra recited aloud, and went to join the monastery of the Fifth Patriarch of Zen. The Patriarch recognized that Hui Neng was in the process of awakening, but rather than openly acknowledge this he assigned him to care for […]

Obama Lexicon

I’ve noticed that Obama’s stock turns of phrase appear more and more often on blogs and coming from statements from other folks all over the place. To document, these are: Let’s be clear Make no mistake I don’t believe this is confirmation bias. They’re used in the same rhetorical contexts, for the most part. It’s […]

Paying Attention

The easiest way to get people who live in Cleveland and have a bad opinion of Cleveland to have a better opinion of Cleveland is to get them to pay attention to different things, and to prioritize that attention. This evening I could have dwelt upon how empty the downtown was, but instead I marveled […]

Civil Service

My favorite discussion this year in my Public Administration class centered around whether civil service was a calling [or not]. This led me to think about why I get so much satisfaction out of my government web design gig. The answer I usually shell out is because every day I get a chance to improve […]


I’ve been feeling a distinct lack of trust in my life lately. Usually I’m fine in my independence, but sometimes I need someone I feel comfortable talking to. It is a weird sort of loneliness, as if everyone who knows me is content with their own perceptions of who I am, uninterested in anything other […]

Male Communication

I participated in a thread about male-female communication at one of the community sites I frequent, and have continued thinking about it offline. It kind of bleeds into my ever-evolving thoughts on masculinity, and since I haven’t done much thoughtcrime lately, I figured I’d flesh it out a bit here. One of the commenters is […]

Doing My Best

I think in the past I’ve thought that doing your best simply meant giving full effort to a task. That completely neglects the use of judgment in the process. Just following the first would mean that you would sprint a marathon, run as fast as possible the entire way; full effort, not much judgment. I […]


I think one of the reasons I’m so rigid in my reckoning of life is that at a fundamental level I’m a coward. Sometimes when I’m caught by surprise and have to think fast about something, I choose what appears to be the easiest or safest way, or sometimes just refuse to think about it […]

Nostalgia Reject

I think I’m going to reject the act of nostalgia from my life. Hindsight, reflection and appreciation of the past are fine, but comparing the past to the present’s detriment is inefficient, irresponsible and inauthentic. All moments are incomparably precious and moments past should not distract and detract from the value of the moments present.

Mark Elf

So I did a mild redesign. Not much changed on the front end, but I basically coded this one from scratch and it is 50% less crufty and 50% more cromulent than before. I had a half-formed thought last night about how moments are precious because most of them get lost to memory during the […]


I like cruising down the dirt roads of the internet to see what pops up. Dead sites, deleted threads, random things from the Internet Archive and somehow by doing this I ended up on a zed-list celebrity gossip site that had paparazzi pictures of Britney Spears no-no spot. In an interesting bifurcation of thought I […]

White Ubiquity Void

Years ago, I read an essay about the cultural construction of whiteness in America; the author’s claim was that whiteness is defined as a void, easier to discuss in terms of what it is not, rather than what it is. I can’t remember if this was mentioned in the essay, but I believe this loss […]

Refection Reflection

Since my library books and Amazon order haven’t arrived yet I started rereading David Cooper’s Existentialism last night. I picked this up at a table in the faculty building at Notre Dame many years ago. This was a very cool table. Profs would drop whatever books they no longer had a use for there for […]

Labels Redux

I’ve written about my resistance to labels several times. Yet after The Shondes show the other night I found myself thinking in other paths. I was wearing my Don Hertzfeldt “Rejected” shirt, perhaps as a mostly unconscious association with the meaning of The Shondes and the fact that I was going to a show full […]


Lately I have this feeling that I liken to being inside an egg. I am inside this egg and what I do with my life paints the inside of the shell and everywhere I look things aren’t so bad, since I’ve colored every bit of space in the shell. Yet there is a feeling deep […]

Creative Integrity

I’m not creative like an artist or musician or a poet or a chef or a filmmaker or a writer, but I am creative. I’m creative because my need to to build and support rather than destroy or undermine makes me a creator. Creating community or reinforcing networks might not be as immediately edifying as […]

Pseudo-Intellectual Brainstorm

What if all of us think in the same manner, but only our reactions to those thoughts and stimuli are what shape the perceptions that other people have of our personalities? The above statement has been sitting in draft form for a few months. I had nothing much to add apart from the problematic half-idea […]


This promises to cover lots of ground in leaps and bounds. I am once again having the same troubles with agency that I’ve been having all my life. The first reading at Mass yesterday was the story of Abraham and Isaac, one which has caused no end of problems for no end of thoughtful persons […]

Holy Ash Wednesday, Batman!

Ash Wednesday kind of snuck up on my this year. I hadn’t given much thought to what I’m going to do to improve myself this Lent. I think that this year I will try to be less of a smartass for these forty days, and going forward. Additionally, I won’t purchase any extraneous merchandise for […]

Mischanneling Jack/Zen

In which Adam starts to realize he’s sounding like Jack/Zen and runs with it. And probably trips and falls, but that is for you to decide.

Proclivities and Repressions

I hesitated in regard to writing about this, for fear of shame or embarassment, but since I was about ten or twelve and I had a long conversation with my parents about “naming my feelings” I’ve had this voice telling me to do so whenever there is something that I am afraid of in myself. […]

Logical Fallacies

In high school, senior English introduced me to the codified world of fallacious reasoning. Throughout college I learned a bit more about it, but it seems the only people who really understand logical fallacies thoroughly are philosophes and rhetoricists. They’ve always been considered bad things, and in strict terms of argument-in-order-to-win, I suppose they are. […]


One of the characters in Stand on Zanzibar is a synthesist. Everyone else refers to him as a dilletante, and even the government agency he works for is colloquially called the Dilletante Dept. Don Hogan’s job is to browse through this giant encyclopedic computer archive [sort of prefiguring the internet] and learn about whatever he […]


On the way in to work this morning I realized that the phrase “your name is ‘mud’” applies to me in a a quite real sense. My name is mud. I love puns. But that’s not important right now. Entropy. It has been on my mind lately. So many things are on the old noggin […]

Perfect Emotion

A concept in one of the works of C. S. Lewis popped into my head the other day while I was running around Tremont. It boils down to the idea that there are no bad emotions, just poor applications. I’ll reproduce it for you past the jump. Then he remembers—as one remembers an island of […]


I think the world pendulum swings in twenty year cycles. Recessions occur every twenty years or so, We seem to go through a ten year conservative phase and then a ten year liberal phase cycle. Schools of thought seem to flex the pendulum a bit more and last a bit longer, but they also fit […]

Lent and Volunteering

It is that time of year again. Today is Mardi Gras and tomorrow Lent begins. Today is traditionally the last gasp of partying before dour penitence takes hold for a month or so. Of course, Mardi Gras was likely coopted from even older pagan celebrations of Carnival but there is still some debate. The Wikipedia, […]

Skeptics and Mystics

I spend too much time on MetaFilter, but I find it quite intellectually stimulating when I don’t find it quite silly. Sublime and ridiculous. Anyway, I’m somewhat of a minority there since I’m Catholic and it seems at least the most vocal people are quite secular. This is good for me.

Thermodynamics, Quackery and What We’ve Maybe Missed

The heat death of the universe as framed through the 2nd law of thermodynamics probably makes such thoughts as I have been trying to have lately quite impossible, but the Wikipedia manages to toss in just enough doubt [string theory!] on the subject that I’ll go ahead and hash out whatever the hell it is […]


I am pretty consistently pulled in two distinct directions. In one, I feel that my life should be full of celebrity and glory. That I should be famous and contribute to the betterment of mankind. It rejects the comfort and mundanity of working a normal job and living a normal life.

Homily – Hope

Advent is the time in the church calendar when we are supposed to look ahead, in expectation, in hope for redemption. Today at church, the priest, whose homilies are very lulling, gave me a bit of food for thought about hope. He described hope as a center from which two possible bastard [he didn’t say […]


Sometimes I wonder if God came on down to earth just to shut us whiny humans up. I sort of see the whole faith relationship thing as a struggle between my desire to be as capable and autonomous as possible with my necessary recognition that at times I’ve got to ask for help. But it […]


By now everyone on the internet has read Ron Suskind’s Without a Doubt which was published in the New York Times. The whole article sort of hinges on one quote and you probably know which one it is.


My busted headlight thankfully doesn’t require a new plastic shield. I do need to figure out how to remove it so I can glue a chunk back on, but last night I replaced the broken bulb, thanks to Lo-Lo. I’ve been assuming that Halogen meant a Hg-vapor light. For years I have thought this. I […]


I am in one of those stages where I think it is the height of arrogance to be always thinking through myself and blogging about things I think or the way I think I think things. Yet I’m still doing it because maybe perhaps I will actually figure out something new. Coming in to work […]

Pork II

I heard through a secondary source that someone once explained me as someone who “never assumes anything.” I’m not sure if this is correct, but I will assume it is and try to watch it play out.

Time and Travel and Time Travel

Over the weekend I had a conversation with B rd over at edlundart about time and since then I’ve coincidentally read several short stories dealing with time travel by Michael Swanwick.

News Flash

I wonder far too much for my own good, so much in fact, that I wonder about my wondering.

Cockroach Epictetus

A cockroach can lose its head, have its carapace crushed and be subjected to intense radiation and not admit defeat. I am unconquerable, invincible. In any contest the loser is the one who thinks he has lost. Losing is only a mentality, it does not exist unless it is believed in, like the closet monster. […]


As I near my 24th birthday I find myself becoming more and more set in my ways. It is a subtle process, easing into my old man pants.


I’ve still not been thinking about much, lately. So I’m pulling out a topic I’ve had in storage for a while. I had Ethiopian food this weekend, Kitfo is spiced raw beef that looks like viscera and Ethiopian bread is like zombie flesh. And it was all tasty But I’m not writing on that.

The Space Between Thoughts

I read a folk tale, years ago, where a boy receives a purse that always contains a gold coin. This handy source of income helps him on his quest, which I cannot recall. When he takes out the coin, there is still a coin in the purse. Always. Magic!

The Limits of Self-Actualization [and randomness]

self-ac?tu?al?ize: To develop or achieve one’s full potential. It really isn’t that fair to critique a simple definition of self-actualization without addressing it in a engaged and intelligent manner, but I am too lazy to reread what I’ve already read and catch up on what’s hot these days in personal definition.

Infinity Equals Zero

What most people would call splitting hairs, I call finding seams, weaknesses and assumptions that, for me at least, need explicated to my somewhat satisfaction. Mostly these things end up circularly and nothing gets resolved except my understanding of certain subtleties. Infinity equals zero, or something like it.

A Case for Suicide

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, form or manner planning, thinking about planning, planning of thinking about planning or attempting suicide. Quite a bit of time in my anthropological learning process was devoted to the study of suicide, this stems from that. Some bits and pieces also come as a result of my delvings […]

Adam’s Nonsensical Ontological Argument

Here I go again with more of this thinking stuff. You ever get the feeling that you’ve thought of something mindblowing and then find out later that someone else thought about it 100s of years before you and it was probably just chilling in your subconscious? Yeah, I hate that. So a few days ago […]

What I Think About My Art.

I was rummaging through my old sheet music last night in search of something simple enough for me to play on my guitar. While doing this I came to the conclusion that eight years ago I was a damn good saxophonist. Up until high school marching band killed my love of musical performance [a love […]

Ash Wednesday 2004

Mardi Gras is over and now that Lent begins it is time to repent for all the crass, vulgar, indulgent and legion other sinful things that I have done since last Lent. I wonder if forty days is long enough. More than the long stretch of Ordinary Time during the summer, more even than Advent […]

Codes, Communication, Art

I love language because it is a code; because it is so malleable. I love watching young people pick it up and turn it into their own code. My Classical Greek professor once said that babes and children create and change language more than adults. I suppose this is because children are still being indoctrinated, […]

On Death

to die: see: to live. a process that results in death. Also, dying. often misused in place of dead. Example: He died. Instead of He is dead. This is like saying He lived. It is obvious and therefore needless. He is alive is much better. see also: When You Die, You’re Dead. This usage is […]


I think that I am a relatively disciplined and responsible person, but doesn’t that sound lame? I go to bed at 11:30 at night and wake up at 6:45 in the morning. The seven hours and fifteen minutes I give to sleep are necessary for me. I do not like the way I feel when […]


we seem to spend much of our lives in transit, or waiting. tedium. how many ways have we to take up all the listless liminal states of developed life? this entry for instance. portable video games, cell phones, cheap magazines and romance novels. the internet above all has become a redoubt for those afflicted with […]

Mass Cogitation

I don’t often feel the need to say this, but Mass was great today. A soloist was in from Chicago and she sang both Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus. It was quite the treat to have both of those sung at the same Mass, and sung well. The homily was pretty interesting too, Fr. Rocca […]

Feminism, the Body, and the Machine

I came across this great article by Wendell Berry on Arts and Letters Daily. I find it to be a challenging and succinct analysis of life as a part of the modern industrial complex. It spoke to me in some ways that I recognized as coinciding with my own beliefs, but also impulsed me to […]

Limit Approaching Zero

I’m fairly well read in existentialist literature, I still buy into portions of it, for they allow great strength to be present within an individual, thereby strengthening myself. But as with all things in me, there is an inevitable backlash. Although I am not quite sure this one is a true backlash or merely another […]

Know Nothings

Bear with me here, please. After brief conscious mastication, followed by a long boil in the subsconscious, and another bout of conscious banging my head against this thread [and accompanying article], these are what I think about some stuff. We always know nothing. [Yes, that contradicts itself, as do most of my navel-gazings]. Here we […]

Hope v. Faith

A big deal is often made of hope, mostly positive, Pandora’s Box contained hope, to assuage the miseries it released. The Matrix: Reloaded even makes a point about it. Hope apparently is a saving grace, something that keeps us humans dreaming. I don’t see it that way, to me, hope is something of a wolf […]

The Matrix: Reloaded – Fides et Ratio

I’ve seen The Matrix: Reloaded twice now. Fittingly I will give it two entries, one on philosophy and one on its cinematic qualities. This is the philo one. Most likely they will both contain spoilers. To start out, those who say that this second film lacks [in substance and thought provoking material] are idiots. They […]

Religion and Literature

The Religion and Literature talk I went to regarding C.S. Lewis’ Planetary Theme in the Chronicles of Narnia was quite good. Each book in the chronicles has a subtext filled with the oeuvre of a particular medieval planet. Apparently such cosmology was central to Lewis throughout his life. I’m having dinner with the speaker and […]


discussing stereotypes has resulted in the following conclusions. Critical Assumptions: Stereotypes are false. Stereotypes are negative. Stereotypes are externally imposed. Stereotypes are neither false nor true, but are the result of the ossification of value judgments into apparent facts. Quite often the foundation of the stereotype lies within fact (ex: a woman is usually found […]

From the Tao

from the Tao Te Ching (50): A person comes forth to life and enters into death. Three out of ten are partners of life, Three out of ten are partners of death, And the people whose every movement leads them to the land of death because they cling to life Are also three out of […]

Identity Monolectic

Something vaguely Lacanian has been running through my mind the past couple of days. a monolectic about identity. when a person’s identity is secure, (and by secure i mean that the positive aspects that a person perceives in themself are validated, affirmed and reiterated by someone else) this enables them to revisit the dark moments […]


it seems that i have been talking about endings lately. getting things done, last chances, last experiences. i must be weary. i’m not focusing on the beginnings to come. i don’t really understand why i must be goal-oriented at all times and why i always worry about what i am attempting to accomplish. what i […]

What is the Difference?

what is the difference between innocence and confidence, pleasure and happiness? what ambitions derive their source in our darker selves and what does the light side contain of power? why do inanities distract us from meaning and structured understanding of motivation, desire, and actualization? why do we live out our time in rote mechanisms that […]

Celebrate Differences

this morning as i wandered in the general direction of my next class, i began to wonder why i never see people celebrate the differences they have with others. i think it is because we have a faulty idea of what equality should be. we equate equality with conformity in a vaguely Harrison Bergeron kinda […]

Today, of Death

today i talk about death. logically people should have no fear of death. illogically we try various and sundry forms to prolong our lives and use terminology such as escape, cheat, and avoid in reference to death. News flash. no one can escape, cheat or avoid death. period. life and death are dichotomous and cannot […]


i don’t associate myself with my body or my name. my entity is content to define itself merely as psyche. perhaps that is why i only take care of my appearence when society demands i do so. why i shave once a week, instead of not at all. why i have multiple changes of clothing […]

Applied Philosophy

5.25.02 INT. HESBURGH COMPUTER CLUSTER KIOSK 1:42pm DAY i know why i like anthropology so much. i think i have finally understood the holism of anthropology. anthropology is applied philosophy. i’ve read so many things that describe types of behavior and discussions of what defines reality, etc that seem totally unaware that anthropologists deal with […]


4.29.02 INT. KEOUGH HALL, SHOWER STALL 3. approx. 9:23am DAY my topic is emotion, feeling, whatever term you use to generalize and categorize it. it is inviolable and can only be judged by the person experiencing it. ergo, no emotion is wrong in the sense that a person is wrong in feeling it. difficulty lies […]


labels are useless. they only serve as limiters when applied to a person. i am a Fencer, Anthropologist, Hick, or Romantic. all of these contain some truth but exclude other truths. i am more than a label, and my challenge is to make sure that i do not label a person. multifaceted and polydimensional…aren’t we […]